Hey everybody! Today is International Pagan Coming Out Day!
I am not enthused. Partly because of this: http://therioshamanism.com/2012/03/10/privilege-and-the-broom-closet/ But mostly because the process of “coming out” is often a pressured one, and usually is more political than religious.
Lupa makes great points in her post, which is surely being much linked to today. Many people who come out do so because they are safe to do so. And I’ll go there – many pagans do come out just so they can wield the victim card against any- and everything.
And some are outed by others. That is not generally as pleasant.
My biggest issue is the pressure for Pagans to come out. Some pagans don’t want to come out, and some are in positions where they will face very harsh consequences if they do. The implied standard that they have an obligation to come out to stand in solidarity with their “pagan brothers and sisters” is unfair, and frankly a bit cowardly. They will make that decision when they are ready, and not simply so other pagans can take comfort in their growing numbers.
I myself am known as pagan to my friends and family. When asked about my religion I answer openly, but I’m not flagrant like so many young “in-your-face” pagans tend to be. I don’t have much of a chip on my shoulder about the eeeeevil xtians, and if someone has a problem with my religion, I don’t really care. So being out isn’t a big deal.
But that is my choice. I am in a position where I can live like that. I am not in danger of having my children or home or job taken away. So I come out according to the time of my own choosing, not when someone else decides I should to make a political statement.
So if you’re out, fine, good for you. But is it really necessary to have a whole day to pressure others to come out? They’re not betraying you by “staying in” and you’re not better than them for being out. So have your Pagan Pride Day, and celebrate your liberation from the chains of Xtianity, but stop with the demands that those who aren’t ready come out of the shadows. Many like it in the dark.